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The following fact sheet was distributed at the OUCC public information meeting and IURC public field hearing on Jan. 8, 2007 in Evansville.
Updated information on this case is available by clicking here.
On September 1, 2006, Southern Indiana Gas & Electric Co. – doing business as Vectren Energy Delivery of Indiana – filed petitions seeking to increase its base distribution rates for electric and natural gas utility service. The utility has filed more than 1,700 pages of testimony and exhibits in these cases.
Vectren’s proposal would increase its annual base electric rate revenues by approximately $135.5 million. This total includes $45.5 million already being collected through customer bills via separate regulatory processes that require state-level review; these costs include environmental compliance, purchased power, and Demand Side Management expenses.
Electric base rates primarily cover infrastructure, operating and maintenance costs, and capital improvements.
Vectren’s proposal would increase the total monthly residential electric bill for an average customer using 1,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) from $99.10 to $121.12.
Vectren’s current base electric rates were approved in 1995. In testimony filed in this case, the utility indicates it is requesting the increase to pay for capital improvements at generating facilities, transmission and distribution line replacements, and other projects, along with increased operating and maintenance costs.
The utility provides electricity to customers in 6 southwestern Indiana counties (Vanderburgh, Gibson, Pike, Posey, Spencer and Warrick).
The OUCC’s “Understanding Electric Rates” brochure offers more information on the components and charges within a typical electric bill.
Vectren is seeking to increase its annual natural gas rate revenues by approximately $10.4 million for service provided in its “South territory.”
Natural gas base rates primarily cover infrastructure, operating and maintenance costs, and capital improvements. These costs – known as distribution charges – are under IURC jurisdiction and are at issue in this case.
Overall, natural gas base rates cover all “non-gas” costs and comprise approximately 20 to 25 percent of a typical residential winter heating bill.
Based on data for the 12-month period ending March 31, 2006, a total monthly residential natural gas bill for a Vectren South customer using 100 therms of gas would increase from $127.21 to $132.80 under the utility’s proposal. Over the course of that same 12-month period, the utility’s data show the annual residential natural gas bill for an average customer using a total of 744 therms increasing from $996.54 to $1,062.08.
Vectren South’s current base rates were approved in 2004. In testimony filed in this case, the utility indicates that it is seeking to recover costs of capital improvements to its distribution system along with recovery of federally mandated pipeline safety costs.
The Vectren South service territory includes all or parts of 10 southwestern Indiana counties (Vanderburgh, Daviess, Dubois, Gibson, Knox, Martin, Pike, Posey, Spencer, and Warrick).
Natural gas rates in the Vectren North (or Indiana Gas Company) service territory, which includes counties in central, south-central and southeastern Indiana, are not under consideration in this case and will not be affected by the outcome.
Evidentiary hearings in both cases were held in December 2006 in Indianapolis, for the purpose of allowing cross-examination of Vectren’s technical witnesses.
A public field hearing in both cases will be held on January 8, 2007 in Evansville. Customers will be able to submit testimony in the form of written or oral comments. The comments will become part of the official evidentiary record to be considered by the IURC in reaching its final decision on the utility’s requests. Consumer comments, whether written or oral, are given equal consideration.
The Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor (OUCC) is the statutory representative for the interests of all utility consumers in these cases and in all proceedings before the IURC.
Several of Vectren South’s industrial customers have formally intervened through counsel in these cases and are scheduled to file testimony on the same dates as the OUCC:
The IURC has scheduled technical evidentiary hearings in Indianapolis in both cases, to allow for cross-examination of formal witnesses who will file testimony on behalf of the OUCC and intervening parties.
All filing deadlines and hearing dates in any legal proceeding are subject to change.
A settlement agreement is possible in any legal proceeding; such an agreement would be subject to IURC approval.
Consumers with questions or concerns about this case or other utility issues are encouraged to contact the OUCC’s consumer services staff toll-free at 1-888-441-2494 or through the agency’s Website.
Vectren’s testimony and all other publicly filed documents in both cases are available online by:
Public Information Meeting
Public Field Hearing